When we have a need for products or services, we tend to favor recognizable name brands. Research studies show that despite the hundreds of product options now available to us, both on store shelves and over the Internet, we most often pick products that have the highest name brand recognition; more so, if we’re purchasing big-ticket items.
That’s the way it’s always been. In fact, brands that spend a lot on marketing and advertising are able to gain larger market shares based on name recognition alone. Why? Because we believe that we’re getting value for our money.
But are we, really?
I make it a point to speak with our customers often to solicit feedback on our products. My conversations with customers over the years have provided me with invaluable insights on what affects purchase decisions.
I’ve learned that most buyers these days start by doing a quick internet search, which often yields a long list of top-performing brands. Some of the same brand names keep popping up. Some brands cost a lot, some are pretty reasonably priced. Some products are nicer to look at, some boast better performance than other competing products; some have great reviews, some do not.
“What” you may ponder, “should influence your decision to pick one product over another?”
Windows can be a big investment. Any homeowner knows that. But consumers are bombarded with a lot of conflicting information about what’s on the market. There is a confusion of choices and they are bound to give you sensory overload. A typical consumer will instinctively turn to what, or who, is most familiar—friends, relatives, and co-workers—to solicit insights and suggestions before making a purchase.
In a similar manner, print and TV ads and, of late, the Internet continue to strongly influence decision-making. But as the options grow, the bigger a buyer’s dilemma is; with so much available information, most end up even more confused than ever.
What should you do, then?
Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog
Well, first, don’t believe everything you read. An internet search can yield a lot of wonderful reviews, promising you the stars and the moon, and you may find loads of horribly negative comments online—but be wary. If there doesn’t seem to be a good balance of both good and bad reviews about the product, then there’s a possibility that some of the information may be false. Market competition is always fierce, and not all competitors play fair.
So what’s my point? Well, I think actual experience counts for a lot. If you can’t experience the product’s performance yourself before committing to a purchase, then speak with someone you know and trust who has first-hand experience with the product. How they’ve personally experienced the product should play into your final decision on whether or not to patronize a brand.
Before you buy, do your research. Apart from asking around and soliciting opinions from people whose views you trust and respect, talk to sales representatives. Ask all the relevant questions. Read the product’s specs, pick out the products that best meet your needs, and carefully read the small print before signing any purchase contracts.
The result of this due diligence, I have found, is a successful purchase. Not surprisingly, the happiest customers are those who end up buying products from well-established brands. Do you want to know why?
Simply put, it makes the most sense.
Certain qualities make a brand, and a company, stand out; these are the same qualities that you should look for, regardless of the product you’re looking to purchase:
- A reliable history – Just a few years ago, most successful companies were known to have an average lifespan of 67 years. Today, most companies last 15 years at best. If a company that has over 100 years under its belt, that’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. A company that endures: that alone speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of its products.
- Innovativeness – Make sure that despite its longevity, the company is no slouch when it comes to innovation. Consider companies that offer windows with advanced frame materials and are treated with Low-E Glass coatings, which reduce infrared radiation and lowers the window’s U-factor. In short, you save a lot of money by enjoying higher energy efficiency in your home. Choose a company that’s committed to always improving their products and ideas, which will ensure that the company will remain a market leader for many years to come.
- Company culture – A financially solid company offers many benefits for stakeholders, including its customers. However, profit shouldn’t be the be all and end all. Look at how the company takes care of employees, because happy employees make for a much higher level of service to customers. This should be obvious in the way employees interact with you—are they respectful, loyal to the company, willing to go the extra mile? Does the company value and work at establishing good relationships within the communities they’re in?
- Customer Focus – Does the company you’re buying from maintain a laser-sharp focus on its customers? This will allow them to respond quickly to market changes and demands, and to come up with the best choices available on the market. How do people live, work, and interact? These are the things that the company should be looking at to ensure that you get superior and relevant products that keep pace with the latest in technology.
- Clear-cut value propositions – Go for a strong company, with a strong and happy workforce, that puts its customers first. Because they don’t have to keep reinventing themselves to stay in the market’s consciousness, they will be much more efficient all around.
Next time you go shopping, especially when making big purchases; make sure you tick all the boxes. Logic dictates that we buy from companies that spend money on developing products, on introducing innovations, and on establishing a brand and reputation.
That’s why you know that a company that’s endured for over a hundred years is bound to be one you can trust over a newer market player. After all, with other similar product offerings readily available, there’s got to be something to the products of a company that has remained an industry front runner through the years. Plain common sense tells you that.
Don’t be fooled by wagging tails meant to misdirect your attention. That way you end up with a winning product, not with a dog.
Sheaun Smith is a project manager at Renewal by Andersen of St. Louis . He brings 15 years of experience in construction to the table, and has tackled projects on all sizes. For him, the customer’s needs are an utmost priority. Thus his team endeavours to make every client they meet satisfied with their work. Sheaun loves to share his insight on the construction industry.